A few days ago, the news broke that Francis Ngannou will face former champion Anthony Joshua. The news met with mixed reactions, and it is about a boxing match scheduled for March 8. Ngannou's journey into heavyweight and boxing as a sport has been nothing short of remarkable.
Although he lost to champion Tyson Fury in a fight that was not for the belt, he delivered a great match and even knocked Fury down at one point. This would not be strange if Francis is not an MMA fighter and it was his first boxing match against perhaps the best boxer of the last 10 years.
His upcoming match against Joshua will certainly push him even further on the Boxing scene, and even some of the world's best professional boxers have not had matches with two champions like Joshua and Fury. Few could have predicted Ngannou's rapid rise and his back-to-back bouts against prominent opponents.
However, as his trainer, Eric Nicksick, expresses great confidence in Ngannou's ability to defeat Joshua, the boxing world is eagerly awaiting another spectacle where Ngannou will have many fans. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Nicksick shed light on their strategic approach to facing Joshua, highlighting the stylistic advantages Ngannou possesses over the former champion.
While Nicksick refrained from direct comparisons to Ngannou's previous opponent, Tyson Fury, he did highlight the differences in their styles and how they plan to use them. "Tyson is good in terms of movement, angles, and just generally avoiding punches.
That's exactly why we tried to use more control over the ring and kind of limit his movement," explained Nicksick. "I have a feeling that Joshua will be more in range. He's more of a disciplined fighter who hides behind the front plane, but I feel like he'll be a lot easier to find and we won't have to chase him and close the distance.
Franco will find you." Joshua, known for his disciplined fighting style and ability to keep his distance, contrasts with the elusive movement of Tyson Fury. Nicksick believes this difference will give a chance to Ngannou's power.
However, Ngannu's coach should know that there is also an opportunity for Joshua, who also has great strength and a knockout punch.
"I have a feeling that Joshua will be more in range.
He is more of a disciplined fighter who hides behind the front straight, but I feel that it will be much easier to find him and we won't have to chase him down and close the distance. Francis will find you,'' he added. Despite Joshua no longer holding the title, Nicksick emphasizes that he is still impressive and far from a harmless opponent.
The clash of styles, combined with the undeniable power that both fighters bring to the ring, sets the stage for an exciting encounter. Of course a Ngannou win would be a big surprise, but whoever watched his match against Fury must be secretly hoping that Ngannou wins.
Preparation as for a championship match
Anthony Joshua, who is coming off a stellar year with three wins, is not sitting idly by and he is preparing hard for a new challenge. Joshua stated that he is not currently fixated on the championship belt and that this is the match that can bring him back to the center of attention.
In a recent statement, he emphasized his commitment to getting in the right mental state for his upcoming bout with Ngannou, treating it as if it were a title unification fight. "Let me say it again, I'm not focused on the title right now.
I have to get myself in the right mental state, and I'm going to treat the fight against Ngannou like it's a fight for the absolute champion. That's the mental state I want to be in. Ngannou is my fight for the absolute champion.
You're only as good as your last fight and he's not an easy game," Joshua said. Acknowledging Ngannou's reputation for good striking, Joshua is ready for a fierce showdown, promising fireworks in the ring. Thinking about unexpected outcomes in boxing, he also touched on situations like Ruiz and Hrgovic.
"He's a very hard worker, and you know what's crazy? I am also a hard worker. I am very hard work for anyone in the world. So let's go, it's going to be fireworks. There was that situation with Ruiz and Hrgovic, and when they put Ngannou in front of me, I said he can,'' he added.
Francis Ngannou, despite his loss to Fury, deserved another high-profile opportunity. Many were surprised by the resilience and skill he showed against Fury, and the upcoming match against Joshua will be a real test of his capabilities.
As the date of the fight approaches, the expectation among fans is growing to witness whether Ngannou can reach the very top of the heavyweight division after only two fights. If Ngannou can repeat the same level of performance shown against Fury, the possibilities are endless. Saudi Arabia will once again host a very important boxing event, and the match is expected on March 8.